Funnybooks: The Improbable Glories of the Best American Comic Books

Front Cover
Univ of California Press, 2015 - Humor - 407 pages
Funnybooks is the story of the most popular American comic books of the 1940s and 1950s, those published under the Dell label. For a time, “Dell Comics Are Good Comics” was more than a slogan—it was a simple statement of fact. Many of the stories written and drawn by people like Carl Barks (Donald Duck, Uncle Scrooge), John Stanley (Little Lulu), and Walt Kelly (Pogo) repay reading and rereading by educated adults even today, decades after they were published as disposable entertainment for children. Such triumphs were improbable, to say the least, because midcentury comics were so widely dismissed as trash by angry parents, indignant librarians, and even many of the people who published them. It was all but miraculous that a few great cartoonists were able to look past that nearly universal scorn and grasp the artistic potential of their medium. With clarity and enthusiasm, Barrier explains what made the best stories in the Dell comic books so special. He deftly turns a complex and detailed history into an expressive narrative sure to appeal to an audience beyond scholars and historians.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

The Very Good Ones
1
Mickey in a Magazine
15
Oskar Lebeck Meets Walt Kelly
25
Whitman K K and Dell
43
Learning on the Job in L A
53
A Feel for Walt Kellys Stuff
58
Animal Magnetism
68
Cartoon Conundrums
79
Animal Kingdoms
207
Walt Kelly Branches Out
221
StrongHanded Friends
234
The Virtuoso
250
Walt Kelly Escapes
265
Oskar Lebeck in Exile
278
Manifest Destiny
290
Play Money
301

Carl Barks Makes His Break
91
Barks Becomes the Duck Man
104
Gaylord DuBois
115
John Stanley
127
I Am a Backwoods Bumpkin
142
Pure Corn at Disneys
150
Special Talents 161 15 Barks Masters His Medium
179
An Arena for All the Passions
193
Carl Barks in Purgatory
311
The Slow Fade
327
Disasters
334
Can These Bones Live?
346
Abbreviations
355
Index
397
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2015)

Michael Barrier is the author of Hollywood Cartoons: American Animation in Its Golden Age and The Animated Man: A Life of Walt Disney. He is also coeditor (with Martin Williams) of A Smithsonian Book of Comic-Book Comics and coauthor (with Harvey Kurtzman) of From Aargh! to Zap! Harvey Kurtzman's Visual History of the Comics.

Bibliographic information